Rick Pitino on FBI investigation, firing: ‘I’ve been vindicated in my eyes’

Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino is certain he will be cleared of all charges in the FBI investigation into the corruption behind college basketball recruiting.

In an interview with ESPN’s Jay Bilas that aired on Wednesday night, Pitino said he knows the truth of what happened at Louisville and his relationship with Adidas.

“I’ve been vindicated in my eyes,” Pitino said. “Nobody’s been arrested on my staff. I have to answer to one person. We all do. Whatever God you believe in that’s the most important thing.”

According to NPR, Louisville’s Board of Directors unanimously voted Monday to terminate Pitino’s contract as head basketball coach, three weeks after reports identified him as one of the coaches in the FBI investigation involving Adidas and bribery of high school recruits and their families.

Citing a lie ditector test and what the FBI found when he “voluntarily” turned over his text messages, Pitino said he was not aware that a Louisville assistant coach requested $100,000 from Adidas to pay a high school recruit, despite the federal government’s allegations.

When asked by Bilas how he— then the coach of the Louisville basketball team— couldn’t have known what was going on with his assistant coaches and Adidas, Pitino brushed off any knowledge of allegations.

“I don’t answer to those people,” Pitino said. “I answer to my players who have been over the top in support of me. I answer to the assistant coaches and most important, my family ... And I sit here today and tell you should I have known that someone walked into a hotel room and- I don't see how I could possibly know.

“Let’s just say I take ownership of who I hired and take full responsibility for that.”

The full interview can be watched on ESPN's official website.

Caption
Coach Rick Pitino’s contract was terminated by Louisville.

Credit: Mike Ehrmann

Coach Rick Pitino’s contract was terminated by Louisville.
Caption
Coach Rick Pitino’s contract was terminated by Louisville.

Credit: Mike Ehrmann

Credit: Mike Ehrmann